It’s not unusual for cricket fans to indulge dire outlooks for Test cricket; I think serious historians have shown such concerns have been around since at least, say, 1745. But All Out Cricket, heeding Andrew Strauss’ recent call to protect the slow format, does find some worrying signs in the tea leaves:
[The] recent announcement of England’s summer schedule in 2012 is another punch in the stomach to those that believe Test cricket is the ultimate form of the game and should thus receive primacy. England are scheduled to host West Indies for three Tests, three one-day internationals and a Twenty20 before Australia arrive for a five-match one-day series prior to three Tests, five one-dayers and three Twenty20 games against South Africa. That’s 13 one-day internationals. Yes, THIRTEEN.
For my part, I don’t think there’s any lack of passion for 5-day cricket. But silly pitches designed for five days’ play (a sop to television broadcasters) needs to stop; I’d rather have a low-scoring thriller than a five-day draw/batting orgy. And I think we could save Test cricket by exporting its culture to the other formats; Gideon Haigh, for example, has suggested removing fielder/bowler restrictions in ODIs. Good stuff. (Doubt it will happen anytime soon though, alas.)